Hollywood Contenders – Looking at Best Supporting Actor hopefuls

Dear readers, as you might well have guessed already, here we go again. It’s time for another category to get a somewhat in depth look at what/who its top contenders might be. I’ve gone over what this is a number of times, but in case you’re new to it all, here it is in short: it’s one thing to read early Academy Award predictions at this point in the year in order to see what folks like myself think will happen six or so months from now, but it’s a whole other thing entirely to actually know something about what will be in contention. To help out in that regard, I’m once again running down some of the major contenders in each Oscar category in order to prep you all for the season to come. Basically, the format will have me saying a few words about what/who I feel are the top tier contenders right now in said categories, along with a longer list afterwards of many of the other hopefuls that the Academy might take a shine to. Consider this a sort of before the awards season cheat sheet that you can use as you see fit in the months to come.

Today I’m continuing with another of the bigger acting categories…yes, it’s Best Supporting Actor.

Here now are the ten particular thespians that I have in play for Best Supporting Actor, with the top five cracking the unofficial lineup at this point:

1. Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project) *Could go Lead – In what seems like a very weak field, Dafoe appears to be a clear frontrunner. He’s amazing in The Florida Project, though as an Academy Award winner, it would be an unusual choice. Plus, there’s a chance he ends up going Lead still. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen here in Supporting Actor, it just means he’s hardly locked in. That being said, unconventional victors are often the most interesting ones, right?

2. Idris Elba (Molly’s Game) – Perhaps this is an overshot on my part, but Elba doing Aaron Sorkin dialogue seems like a hard thing for voters to resist. No one has raved about his turn in Molly’s Game, but with Jessica Chastain likely to be a thing in Best Actress, he could certainly come along for the ride. Once he’d be in the lineup, then he’d be able to better challenge for the win. As such, we have a very thin number two here.

3. Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name) – He’ll split votes with Michael Stulhbarg (more on him shortly), but Hammer has gotten raves ever since the Sundance Film Festival for his work in this movie. Call Me By Your Name should be a big player, and if Hammer doesn’t end up getting pushed Lead, watch out for him to contend here in a big way for this turn.

4. Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) – Could this finally be Rockwell’s year? That may very well be the case if Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri contends as expected. In fact, he could even be looked as an overdue hopeful here. That can only help his candidacy, which is what makes this one so interesting to watch evolve…

5. Ben Mendelsohn (Darkest Hour) – Depending on how big of a player Darkest Hour turns out to be, Mendelsohn could easily get pulled in along with Best Actor frontrunner Gary Oldman. Darkest Hour should score in number of categories, so the bigger it ends up being, the more likely Mendelsohn gets cited. Keep a close eye on him folks.

6. Michael Shannon (The Current War or The Shape of Water) – It’s clear that the Academy likes Shannon. If either The Current War or (more likely) The Shape of Water is a force with voters, he could easily get nominated once again. For the moment, he’s just outside of the top five, but that may change pretty soon…

7. Mark Rylance (Dunkirk) – If Dunkirk is really going to be a force on Oscar night, it could use an acting nomination. Rylance has emerged as the one to watch from the cast, getting standout mentions in Christopher Nolan’s epic. Dunkirk is a frontrunner in a lot of places, so getting this nod as well would be a huge boon for it. Rylance may very well sneak in when all is said and done.

8. Michael Stulhbarg (Call Me By Your Name) – As mentioned above, Stuhlbarg is going to split votes with Hammer. One of the two Call Me By Your Name supporting gentlemen will probably get in, so it may just be a matter of which one can do it. For the moment, your guess is as good as mine. Stay tuned…

9. Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water) – Here’s another vote split situation, as Jenkins is going to be hurt by Shannon’s candidacy, and vice versa. The Shape of Water might end up as one of the largest players in 2017, so having multiple candidates to choose from can only help its prestige factor. It’ll just have to watch out for vote splitting and the like.

10. Kevin Spacey (All the Money in the World) – You could look to a veteran actor here like Dustin Hoffman for The Meyerowitz Stories or even Patrick Stewart for Logan, but Spacey is the new kid on the block right now, contender wise. The Trailer suggested he could have a really baity turn. All the Money in the World is an X factor currently, so watch out for it!

Next in line I’d have these ten contenders (just sans my commentary here) for Best Supporting Actor:

11. Dustin Hoffman (The Meyerowitz Stories)
12. Patrick Stewart (Logan)
13. Jason Mitchell (Mudbound)
14. Will Poulter (Detroit)
15. Ray Romano (The Big Sick)
16. Christoph Waltz (Downsizing)
17. Mark Hamill (Star Wars: The Last Jedi)
18. Woody Harrelson (The Glass Castle)
19. Kevin Costner (Molly’s Game)
20. Bruce Dern (Chappaquiddick)

Finally, here are ten more possibilities to give us a top 30 to cull from, just sans commentary as well:

21. Tom Hardy (Dunkirk)
22. Justin Timberlake (Wonder Wheel)
23. Laurence Fishburne (Last Flag Flying)
24. Harrison Ford (Blade Runner 2049)
25. Garrett Hedlund (Mudbound)
26. Daniel Craig (Logan Lucky)
27. Colin Farrell (The Beguiled)
28. Ed Harris (mother!)
29. Nick Offerman (The Hero)
30. Jake Gyllenhaal (Okja)

That’s what the Best Supporting Actor race could very well be made up of when all is said and done folks. Stay tuned next week, at the same awards time and same awards channel, for my look at the Best Supporting Actress race!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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